They are forever locked in an iconic kiss, but the true identities of the sailor and the nurse in the Kissing Sailor picture by LIFE magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt have never been confirmed -- until now.
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That is the claim being made in "The Kissing Sailor," a new book set to be released in May from Coronado author George Galdorisi and co-author Lawrence Verria.
"We've proven this basically three different ways -- through forensic analysis, through photographic interpretation and through some other technical means that these are the people," Galdorisi said.
The picture was taken August 14, 1945. in New York City's Time Square. The sailor and the nurse in the photo didn't know each other before the picture was taken.
"And the people didn't say, 'Hi, my name is.' They just went their separate ways after the kiss," Galdorisi said.
The names of the dynamic kissing duo went unconfirmed for decades.
"When you whittle it down to people with a pretty legitimate claim, there's probably four or five candidates for the sailor and about three for the nurse," Galdorisi said.
Galdorisi and Verria narrowed their list down to 89-year-olds George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman. Mendonsa lives in Rhode Island, while Friedman lives in Maryland.
In 1945, a 22-year-old Mendonsa was on a date with his girlfriend at Radio City Music Hall. He was on leave, having survived several battles in the Pacific and watched nurses care for hundreds of wounded sailors.
"In the emotion and exhilaration of someone saying, 'The war was over,' he streamed out of Radio City Music Hall bound and determined to kiss the first nurse he encountered," Galdorisi said.
Oddly enough, Mendonsa's date that day, who later became his wife, is also immortalized in the photo. She can been seen over Mendonsa's right shoulder as he's kissing Friedman.
Friedman and Mendonsa have reunited several times since that day, but have never reenacted the kiss.
"She said, very properly, she said, 'No, he's married,'" Galdorisi said.
Original Good Morning America anchor David Hartman wrote the forward for the book. He'll be discussing the book on ABC's "The View" in May.
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